Montana Department of Transportation


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I-15 I-90 Improvements project location I-15 I-90 Improvements project location I-15 I-90 Improvements project location I-15 I-90 Improvements project location I-15 I-90 Improvements project location

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I-15 I-90 Improvements

I-15 I-90 Improvements project logo

Project Overview

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has partnered with Jim Gilman Excavating, Inc., to improve roadways at the junction of I-15 and I-90 through Butte. Construction crews will be updating road surfaces which were last improved in 2009.

Project Location

The project begins near the Montana Street Interchange (Exit 226) and continues east for 6.0 miles to near Continental Drive Interchange (Exit 228).

What to Expect

The project is part of MDT’s effort to extend the life of our roads and keep them safe for all travelers, achieve Vision Zero (zero deaths and zero serious injuries) in Montana. Improvements include:

  • Bridge preservation
    • Sealing cracks, repairing barriers, sealing joints
  • Roadway milling and paving
  • New lane and pavement markings
  • Updated signing
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Rumble strip installation

Why this section of road?

Our interstates are some of the most traveled roads in Montana, which means they take all the wear and tear from us and Mother Nature. The construction you’re seeing is all about keeping the roads improved and extending their life.

Often, by the time roads are looking rough, it’s too late. It’s why our “Pavement Preservation Model” was created and now, with Jim Gillman Excavating’s help, we’re in the neighborhood to keep our good roads good.

Pavement preservation can look like a lot of things. Including:

  • Crack Sealing
    • Just like it sounds. We fill up minor cracks in the pavement with a flexible sealant. Crack sealing is a minimally invasive and basic step of larger pavement preservation jobs.
  • Microsurfacing
    • We add a very thin layer of asphalt onto a roadway.
  • Chip Seal
    • This is a layer of asphalt and aggregate that provides a wearing course and keeps water out. When water seeps into an unsealed road and freezes it damages the pavement. So, this oily mix of gravel chips and asphalt helps stop that from happening. Because of the mixture’s makeup we have to apply it only during hot, dry conditions.
  • Overlay
    • An overlay uses different materials than a chip seal – instead of asphalt, we apply pavement to the road. It’s more expensive than a chip seal.
  • Mill and Fill
    • We grind down the first layer of damaged pavement (that’s the ‘Mill’) to get rid of ruts and cracks. Then we place fresh asphalt on top (that’s the ‘Fill) to create a smooth service and put a chip seal (see above) on that to finish it off.

Engineer to English

Barriers Cement barriers, guard rails, and cable rails that prevent traffic from leaving the road.
Fatal injury A crash resulting in an injury that causes someone to die. If someone dies within 30 days of their crash, it’s considered a fatal injury crash.
Fixed object crash When a vehicle strikes an (mostly) immovable object like a tree, streetlight, or concrete barrier.
Incapacitating injury A crash resulting in a non-fatal wound that prevents someone from doing things they normally could, i.e., walking, driving.
Joints Gaps between sections of a bridge that allows it to expand and contract as it heats up and cools down
Non-incapacitating injury A crash resulting in a non-fatal wound that is obvious to people at the scene but is not fatal or stopping someone from doing things they normally could, i.e., walking, driving.
Property-damage-only A crash where only damage occurs but not to any person
Rumble strips Grooves cut in the roadway shoulder that make noise and alert drivers they are moving outside of their lane.
Sealing Application of approved materials over on the roadway to prevent water infiltration.
Signing Installing speed limit, exit, and other signs required in the area
Sinusoidal (mumble) strips Modified rumble strips cut into the roadway shoulder that provide driver feedback (alerting the driver) but with decreased noise levels to adjacent residences and businesses.
Vision Zero MDT’s campaign to get to zero fatalities and zero serious injuries on any public roadway in Montana.

Project Cost

The project will cost approximately $6.4M dollars.


Our teams conducted a safety study analyzing how safe the roadway in the project area is by reviewing the types and frequency of crashes. Between 2013 and 2018 there have been 115 crashes in the area. They include:

  • 3 fatal injury crashes
  • 7 incapacitating injury crashes
  • 13 non-incapacitating crashes
  • 10 possible injury crashes
  • 82 property-damage only crashes

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